The Matchlock Gun Free Download
Kevin Hicks, from the historical interpretation company, The History Squad, demonstrates how to fire one of these early muskets.The matchlock was the first mechanical device for firing a gun. It did away with the cumbersome process of holding a burning wick to the powder in the flash pan or touch hole of the gun. By the 16th century, the matchlock was the dominant "lock" or firing mechanism in Europe. It was replaced by the flintlock in the early 18th century, which offered a more reliable ignition.
The Matchlock Gun free download
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The main characters of the story are Teunis and Gertrude Van Alstyne and their children, ten-year-old Edward and six-year-old Trudy. Although he is absent during most of the action, Teunis Van Alstyne is a vital character in the novel. A robust Dutchman, twenty-nine years old, he has an outgoing, caring manner and is described as a "lusty," "manly" man who "could roar like a bull when he wanted." Edward greatly admires his father, who is captain of the Guilderland militia. When the story begins, Teunis is preparing to fight the French and Native Americans at nearby Palatine Bridge. Edward watches his father prepare for duty and asks why Teunis never takes the matchlock gun with him. Teunis explains that the gun is impractical in battle and shows Edward how to fire the weapon. Teunis and Gertrude share a tender goodbye before Teunis departs into the rainy night, and Gertrude then tucks Edward and Trudy in bed, singing a Dutch lullaby to them.
A devoted mother and loving wife, Gertrude Van Alstyne is described as almost saintlike. When she sings a lullaby to her children, her voice is "soft and sweet"; when she tucks Edward in bed, her hands have a "clean, buttery" smell; when she walks down the stairs by candlelight, the flame illuminates her face like a halo. Despite her soft appearance, Gertrude adheres to her strong convictions: she stubbornly refuses to seek refuge at her mother-inlaw's house because the Widow Van Alstyne does not accept her as a daughter-in-law; she firmly raises her children to obey her; and she courageously safeguards her home against enemy warriors, lifting and loading the heavy matchlock gun.
Almost all of the characters exhibit the fortitude and ingenuity upon which the book's theme of heroism is founded. The matchlock gun, which represents a legacy of power and protection, also expresses this theme. Handed down for generations, the gun has been used to keep the family unified and safe from outside attack. Edmonds implies that Edward moves closer to adulthood as a result of his experience with the gun and that he emerges a hero: a ten-yearold who has killed three Native American adults. The author seems to suggest that the instinct to kill for love of family and country, and the desire to conquer the unknown and uncivilized, reflect admirable American qualities. Since the story was published during the United States' involvement in World War II, it seems possible that Edmonds intended to convey a patriotic theme of honoring, defending, and protecting the motherland at all costs.
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